BELOIT—Community strength is key to economic growth, and that is one reason Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Aimee Thurner points to when explaining recent success in the Greater Beloit area.
“It has been a year of community. It was the year of collaboration and industrial development,” Thurner said. “It’s just been booming. We were all working together to make the community a better place.”
That is the reason that she and her staff though the theme for this year’s chamber dinner should be “The Year of Community.”
The chamber continues to grow with 40 new members in 2019, bringing the total membership to 375. More than 2,900 people attended chamber hosted events and there were 23 ribbon cuttings to welcome new chamber member businesses.
It seemed the good news kept coming for the Stateline Area in 2019 with the announcement that Amazon was building a new distribution center in Beloit and the potential for a new Beloit Snappers baseball stadium planned for downtown.
The chamber staff, including operations manager Maggie Littlefield and administrative assistant and community concierge Verena Jones, is happy in their office at IronTek.
“We have a happy home at IronTek. We have a great staff. We have a board of directors that represents our membership,” Thurner said.
Thurner herself has been with the chamber for 17 years, serving the past three years as executive director. When she looks back on her history with the chamber, she expresses a sense of pride and a little bit of surprise.
“I never would have imagined this would be my life-long career,” she said.
Over the years, the chamber has found new ways to serve and engage its members, Thurner said.
“This chamber is so unique. It will do something one year, but do something totally different the next year,” she said.
The chamber hosts many events to enlighten and engage members, such as the Business Studio Luncheons, where a specific topic is addressed or a featured speaker is brought in to inform those in attendance. Topics could be use of social media in business, tax initiatives or other issues.
The chamber also has traditional programs such as the Taste of The Chamber, which features local restaurants and food service businesses. There also is the annual chamber golf outing and of course the chamber dinner.
The past year has been very successful for the chamber and the staff hopes the coming year will be just as full of bright spots.